The Red Devils are still seeking help in midfield despite manager David Moyes landing the services of Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata for a combined £65m over the last six months, and continue to be linked with a number of midfielders ahead of the summer transfer window, where Moyes hinted United will do most of their business.
One of those names was former Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who left St. James' Park in the January transfer window in order to return to France with Paris Saint-Germain, but United chose not to pursue the £19m midfielder – and are now being linked with a surprising move for his former team-mate Cheick Tiote.
The former Twente man had a great first season in the North East, with his all-action displays endearing himself to the Magpies faithful. With a reputation for being a strong and aggressive defensive midfield player, Tiote is a hard worker who is also no stranger to referees, having picked up 36 yellow cards and one red in almost four seasons in the Premier League.
Yet, whilst he's useful as an enforcer in the middle of the park, the speculation suggests that Tiote is being lined up as a replacement for Michael Carrick – which would make little sense. Carrick's role in the United team is to act as the link between defence and midfield, and his passing range is vital to how United play. Tiote's athletic attributes make him a valuable player, but his technical abilities are not at a good enough level to replace Carrick in United's midfield and play the same role.
United had the chance to sign the ideal Newcastle midfielder, but passed it up when Cabaye left for PSG – maybe Moyes regrets that decision and wants to sign his midfield partner, but he is most certainly not a like-for-like replacement for Carrick, nor does he have the ability that Manchester United need to get back in the title race.
image: © Andrea Sartorati